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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

General Discussions - Part 7

Continue from Part 6

Anti-scholarly preferences / Paul Simon and the St Matthew Passion

Carol wrote (November 26, 2003):
I'm going to join the Bach Cantata list soon. Thanks.

I've been listening to the "Christmas Oratorio"; never heard it in full before it arrived in the mail the other day, and excerpts, only a year ago. I have Gardiner's version. I'm unable to concentrate on reading, conversation or anything else through its entirety, which is to say I love every part of it.

I have absolutely nothing technical to say about it right now except that the first chorus in part one Bach also used in the St. Matthew's Passion, and frankly, I don't yet know which came first, although I suspect the Oratorio did - and that Simon and/or Garfunkle pirated the melody for a portion of one of their songs; I don't care enough about them to remember its name; all I recall is the words sung to Bach's melody were something like, "I've been many times (dejected?) and many times confused".

I spend too much time listening to get down to much history and technique.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 26, 2003):
Carol wrote:
< I have absolutely nothing technical to say about it right now except that the first chorus in part one Bach also used in the St. Matthew's Passion, and frankly, I don't yet know which came first, although I suspect the Oratorio did - and that Simon and/or Garfunkle pirated the melody for a portion of one of their songs; I don't care enough about them to remember its name; all I recall is the words sung to Bach's melody were something >
That chorale tune is HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN. There is also a song by humorist John Forster, "Fusion," making fun of Paul Simon. To that tune he sings, "This pretty tune was written by Hans Leo Hassler / In 1599. /I wrote some words and changed about three notes. / Now ASCAP says it's mine."

One of my wife's favorite albums.
http://www.johnforster.com/FUSION.html
http://www.johnforster.com/albums.html

Robert Sherman wrote (November 26, 2003):
[To Carol] Carol, if you have the opportunity to listen to Richter's SMP – best to hear the whole thing, beginning to end, for full dramatic effect – I think you'll be bowled over by what he does with that chorale in the crucifixion section.

I vaguely remember the Simon and Garfunkle version too. I wouldn't call it "pirated". After all, if anyone takes such a magnificent melody and uses it to sing about peace and brotherhood to the millions -- who can fault that?

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (November 26, 2003):
[To Carol] Actually, you are way off base. The music for "Jauchzet, frohlocket! Auf, preise die Tage" was taken from BWV 214/I. The text was newly written. As for the Matthaeuspassion, it was not at all the same. In this work the first Choral movement was "Kommt, ihr Töechter, helft mir Klagen". The Matthaeuspassion came before the Oratorio. The first Chorale (which I think you meant instead of the first Chorus) uses the same tune as the one so often used in the Matthaeuspassion ("O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden"), but again the words here are different ("Wie soll ich dich empfangen"-"How shall I [fitly] meet Thee?", which actually makes very little sense, since it (the Chorale text) is actually talking of the Last Judgement).

Actually, I have heard Gardiner's version and the version by Richter, Rilling, and Kurt Thomas and the Thomanerchor Leipzig. I actually favor the latter three. I like Rilling's recording because of the Continuo Harpsichord use, but am more inclined with the Richter and Thomas recordings as far as performance goes.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (November 26, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] Two points:

1.) Read my post in response to the original message. I think our postee has Chorale and Chorus mixed up.

2.) The same tune was used for "Herzlich tut mich verlangen", "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden", "Befiehl du deine Wege", and "Wie soll ich dich empfangen". The actual tune name is neither of them. I don't remember the actual title Hassler used, but the titles we have actually come from Gerhardt's taking over Hassler's tune and making it his own.

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 26, 2003):
HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN

[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] David, despite your objections, that is the tune name: HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN.

See, for example, hymns 116 and 117 in the Lutheran Book of Worship, and 159 in The Mennonite Hymnal, and many other hymnals. It is also called that in the standard hymnological catalogue of chorales, Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder compiled by Johannes Zahn, where it is entry 5385a: that's the most common name for that series of notes. That is also the name of it in Brahms' two settings for organ, and in other settings by other people.

That is the established tune name for it, since the early part of the 17th century. And yes, in fewer hymnals is it renamed PASSION CHORALE because of Bach's use of it, or given some other names. But HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN is the most prominent name, because that was the first coupling of that melody with a text for church use.

[And no, we're not shouting; all-capitals is the established way to designate a tune name in print!]

Hassler (published 1601, Lustgarten neuer Deutscher Gasaeng, Nuremberg) used it originally with a text about "My heart is distracted by a gentle maid". That is: "Mein G'mt ist mir verwirret von einer Jungfrauzart".

The first use of it with a sacred text was in 1611-13, namely "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" which was written by Christoph Knoll in 1599. "Herzlich tut mich verlangen nach einem selgen End, weil ich hier bin umfangen mit Trübsal und Elend".

Paul Gerhardt (1607-76)? He was responsible for the "O Haupt voll Blut und
Wunden
" text coupling with this tune, in 1656; so what?

Brad Lehman
(...having researched this for the booklet notes of my own recordings of versions by Brahms, Scheidt, Bach, and Pachelbel. My clavichord performance of the Bach XmasO setting, and Pachelbel's, and Scheidt's, is "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (3 vers)" at http://www.mp3.com/bpl . The organ recording of the Brahms--the shorter of his two--is to be released shortly. Op. posth. 122, #9. "Posthumous"? After Brahms' death, and hopefully before my own.)

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (November 27, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] Actually, like I said, that not the one Hassler (who wrote the original tune) gave it. It was a love song, whereas "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" deals with death. It was someone else (I read somewhere who it was, but do not remember the name offhand) that wrote the Choral "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" and took over the tune for that Choral. As to the Hymnals, all the hymnals give Hassler the credit for writing the tune, but use the wrong title. Besides, if you look at the source you listed for entries before that of "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" using the same tune, you would not find one, since it was only incorporated into lirturgical use, not originating from liturgical use. The same case (in case you didn't know) could be said for the tune for the Weinachtschoral "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her", which came from a secular cradle-song "Aus fremder Land da komm ich her" which Luther (according to legend) used to love to sing to his children.

Carol wrote (November 28, 2003):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
"That chorale tune is HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN."
Hi, Brad, thanks for your posting.

But I'm confused. As I said, the melody to which I'm referring in The Christmas Ortorio is Chorale No. 5, and I. have Gardiner's version. Its text contains the word, "Verlangen", but there's no mention of the words, "Herzlich tut mich". .

In the St. Matthew's Passion (I have Herrewegh's version), the melody is in Chorale No. 15, but the accompanying information contains none of those German words.

Translated, in both, the (Chorale/speaker) says to Jesus in essence (not a quote),

[You done so much for me. How can I know You, or what can I do for You to recieve me?]

So, it seems that the message in both is the same, but the German words are different.

David Lebut, in his message to me of 11/26, translated it similarly, "How shall I [fitly] meet Thee?"

He told me how wrong I was about the words (and a lot of other things), though I was only talking about the melody (perhaps I wasn't clear enough), and the German words he quoted were different from yours and mine both. He set me straight (and I later read) that the Oratorio was written before the Passion.

So, what's the story?

Thanks for the information on John Forster. I wasn't aware that Paul Simon was known for using other composer's melodies.

< That chorale tune is HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN. There is also a song by humorist John Forster, "Fusion," making fun of Paul Simon. To that tune he sings, "This pretty tune was written by Hans Leo Hassler / In 1599. / I wrote some words and changed about three notes. / Now ASCAP says it's mine." >

Roy Johansen wrote (November 28, 2003):
[To Carol] "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" is just the best known or conventional name for this hymn, and is mainly used to identify the melody. When hymn tunes appear in vocal works they are usually referred to by the first line of the particular stanza that is used. The tune "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" is used five times (in four different arrangements) in the SMP, but none of the movements happen to employ stanzas from the hymn "Herzlich tut mich verlangen". Four are from "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden" (verses 5, 6, 1+2, and 9), one is from "Befiel du deine Wege" (the first verse). The lyrics used in the Christmas Oratorio is the first verse from "Wie soll ich dich empfangen", but all these four hymns were, or could be, sung to the same melody.

You can also find arrangements of this melody in cantatas 135, 153, and 161; and as independent hymn settings BWV 270 and 271.

Hope this helps,

Bradley Lehman wrote (November 28, 2003):
Carol, at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BachRecordings/message/11717
I posted that information about the history of the melody, as you had asked.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (November 29, 2003):
[To Carol] So was I.

The melody (as you were inquiring about), like I said, had very different words in the original. It has been used and reused by hymnists over the 1-1/2 centuries between its conception and Bach's use in the Weinachtsoratorium. The actual name of the song (the original for the tune, that is) is "Mein Gomut ist mir Verwirret". This, as I said before, was taken over for the following Choraele: "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" (which is about death and longing to be with Jesus), "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden" (the so-called "Passion Chorale", a meditation on Jesus's Passion and especially the flagellation and the mocking), "Befiehl du deine Wege" (a Choral on trust in God), "Ich bin ein Gast von Erde" (a comment on the "In the world and not of the world"ness of the Christian), and "Wie soll ich dich empfangen" (the one I was talking about which Bach incorporated as Nr. 5 in Part I of the Weinachtsoratorium).

I hope this is helpful and also answers your question.

 

1, 2, or 3 choirs and orchestras

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 21, 2004):
David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote:
< If you read my previous posts, you will understand.
In the example, for instance, that I gave of conditions during Bach's time, I stated that Bach would have alread had at his disposal 1 Orchestra that was already attatched to the church. For the 2nd Orchestra, he could have and probably did look aroud and applied for other musicians in other ensembles (such as those attatched to the other city churches or such groups as the ensemble he later led, the Colleegium Musicum) or for musicians either in the church schools, in the University, town musicians, or private individuals (either professional or amateur). Since there was only 1 church each year that performed the Passionsmusik for the year (which alternated each year between the Nichoalikirche and the Thomaskirche), the other churches would have been closed and their musicians available.
To this is contrasted the common practice in most recordings of the Matthäuspassion. Here there is only 1 Choir and 1 Orchestra. To get around the fact that it is 1 Choir and 1 Orchestra, they split the performing ensembles in half. In other words, where there might be 8 or more Violin I performers, they split it so that there are 4 or more. The same goes for the 2nd Violin parts, etc., and the Choirs. In the case of the Choirs (as I have said earlier), the only exception to this rule is that of the Thomanerchor Leipzig (which is in fact 2 Choirs). In point of fact, in the 3rd version of the Matthäuspassion (from 1742, which is the basis of the modern version), there are 3 Choirs. The third Choir only performs in the 1st and last movements of Part I of the work and is constituted soley of Sopranos. >
I understand your point, David: it's about spatial separation of the groups. A good point. I think you've perhaps lost the trail in some assumptions about the size of those various groups, but your point about the groups' separation in location is a good one.

Douglas Cowling [Director of Music & Liturgical Arts, Church of the Messiah, Toronto] wrote (February 21, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] We often over-emphasize spatial separation in polychoral works. In the St. Matthew Passion Bach's two choirs and orchestras were almost side by side in the west gallery. Only the third Ripieno choir was distant in the gallery above the chancel arch. Wolff has a fascinating discussion of the symbolism of this arrangement in his biography

Since its origins in the Renaissance, the spatial separation of choirs has been both dramatic and minimal. The Gabrielis used extreme theatical distances in St. MArk's, Venice, whereas the Palestrina "Stabat Mater" was sung by eight voices in the tiny choir loggia of the Sistine Chapel. The Biber/Benevoli "Salzburg Mass" had 56 voices in choirs all over the cathedral, whereas the double choir motets of Praetorius achieved "distance" through differing sonorities of instrumental doubling.

That Bach did not use wide spatial separation is evident in the works themselves. "Singet dem Herrn" which is the most "Venetian" of his works in the use of antiphony really can't have wide separation of the choirs since they come together "a 4" for the fiendishly difficult final chorus.

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 21, 2004):
[To Douglas Cowling] Agreed, Doug.

A nice synchronicity here: I just received the Diego Fasolis recording of the Palestrina "Stabat Mater" along with a Magnificat on the 1st tone, some motets, and one of the no-name masses. This one with the Swiss Radio Choir, Lugano: Amazon.com
Recorded in 1994 and 1996.

They perform the mass here with just four singers and no accompaniment. For most of the other pieces here (all with one singer per part) they use a very light organ accompaniment plus a violone or a viola da gamba. In a few of them ("Nos autem gloriari", "Tribulatione civitatum", "Tu es Petrus", and the Stabat Mater) they augment the voices with a small ensemble of cornetts and sackbuts.

All very lovely. Good booklet notes, too, rescuing Palestrina from some of the mythology that has become wrapped around him.

As for Wolff's conclusions: yes, but also don't miss the contrasting views expressed in the text and footnotes of Andrew Parrott's book The Essential Bach Choir. Amazon.com
In his presentation of the evidence he demonstrates that some of Wolff's assumptions, and the hagiographic dressing they receive, are questionable.... So did John Butt, separately, in his New Republic review (July 10, 2000) of that biography by Wolff.

David Glenn Lebut Jr. wrote (February 22, 2004):
[To [To Douglas Cowling]] I would probably disagree with you here. There is evidence of 2 galleries that Bach would have used. One Orchestra and Choir would be in one gallery, whilst the other one would be in the other. Remember that the only reason why they were together in the third version (1742,the one that first featured the Ripieno Choir and Harpsichord) was because there was only 1 gallery in the church used (the Nicholaikirche zu Leipzig).

Donald Satz wrote (February 22, 2004):
[To David Glenn Lebut Jr.] Even when a list member throws Mr. Lebut a bone, he refuses to pick it up. I'd be willing to wager that he couldn't tell the difference between a split orchestra and 2 orchestras without reading the information in the liner notes.

Bob Henderson wrote (February 24, 2004):
And I think that our expectations have been affected by stereophonic reproduction where the two choruses certainly are artificially separated. In the live performances of the SMP I have attended the choruses have stood next to one another.

 

Desynchronized ensemble

Bradley Lehman wrote (February 23, 2004):
< However, when two choirs and 2 orchestras are performing together, though it might sound the same, there are inherent differences between the pitch and tempo range of one and the other. It might not be very noticable, but it is present. One might start a little earlier than the other. One might take a passage a little faster than the other. One might be performing a minuscule interval higher or lower than the other. The list can go on and on. However, it is that variety (and the challanges that go along with it to unify the diverse performing elements) that enrich these recordings.
Oh dear, oh dear you're really making a fool of yourself now, with this nonsense. Do you really think poor ensemble enhances a performance? >
Hey, now, don't be too hard on him. The musical point here is a good one.

Furtwängler cultivated such a sound, on purpose, to give weight and spaciousness to the overall effect. That is, those vague conducting gestures of his were intended to get that "imprecision" (at least, as reported by his players--see the video/DVD "Great Conductors of the Century" where this point is addressed). Similarly, Klemperer got a characteristically spread sound from his own technique, and did not fuss too much about such a Toscanini-like precision as any end in itself.

Furthermore, we harpsichordists cultivate a texture of spread note-attacks regularly, as a basic part of the sound: to give added clarity and dynamic shape to the whole venture. This is done deliberately, whether in solo repertoire or ensemble music. Also, there are 17th and 18th century pieces of harpsichord music where that desynchronization is notated clearly, to make sure the harpsichordist does it.

Plus the Frescobaldi preface that I cited here last week, where he specifically asks for the hands not to line up in some circumstances...as a general rule!

And, as I've mentioned several times, there's that Baroque type of rubato where the band stays steady while the soloist deliberately plays/sings ahead of or behind the beat, creating that tension against the ongoing meter. A terrific musical effect.

That said, I don't think that Bach would have expected much more than the normal amount of desynchronization that happens when two or more players (or groups of players, as here in the SMP) are separated a little bit in space, and not always together on every note. But I don't think such a phenomenon should be dismissed outright as "poor ensemble." It really does help the listener follow both parts simultaneously, more easily. Linear independence. (Not that this has ANYTHING to do, though, with having the two orchestras trained separately by different people.)

Another example: read the booklet notes of Musica Antiqua Köln's recording of the Art of Fugue (BWV 1080). The players there gave the parts to two harpsichordists even though the piece is playable by one, deliberately to get that unpredictable quirkiness from it not being quite together.

"Good ensemble" does not have to be a knife-edged precision where everything is completely rational. This is an art! Look at a kid's coloring book. Isn't the page a lot more interesting when the colors do not quite stay in the lines or fill the spaces completely? Or should we fault painters whose work is not completely representational, but something more expressive and vibrant than a more precise surface would be? Part of the life in a Van Gogh painting is that unpredictably bumpy surface, the strokes and dabs themselves, within the organizing structure. Why must music be any different from that possibility?

Gabriel Jackson wrote (February 23, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< The musical point here is a good one >
I can't agree. If a lack of perfect synchronisation between the two ensembles is a good idea (very hard to achieve, surely?!) then why not within them as well? And, given that a lack of unanimity of pitch and disagreements over tempi were also desired, the results could be fairly chaotic! (In any case, none of this is only the result of using two differently named ensembles, as you point out....)

"Furtwängler cultivated such a sound, on purpose, to give weight and spaciousness to the overall effect. That is, those vague conducting gestures of his were intended to get that "imprecision" (at least, as reported by his players--see the video/DVD "Great Conductors of the Century" where this point is addressed)."
Surely Furtwängler's practice (in the early 20th century after all) is as irrelevant here as citing Toscanini in defence of a literalist view of the score?

"Furthermore, we harpsichordists cultivate a texture of spread note-attacks regularly, as a basic part of the sound: to give added clarity and dynamic shape to the whole venture. This is done deliberately, whether in solo repertoire or ensemble music."
Deliberate is crucial here, because that lack of perfect synchronisation is controlled, and controlled by one person - the player.

For a totally irrelevant, and bizarre, example of inappropriate de-synchronisation of the hands, check out Evgeny Kissin's recording of Sergei Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto; at the beginning of the slow movement, his left hand is consistently before his right, in that manner much loved by pianists of an earlier age, with very odd results when the orchestra is sustaining the very same harmony as he is constantly anticipating.

 

NYTimes.com Article: Connections: Two Men, Two Different Passions

Uri Golomb wrote (March 9, 2004):
Thought this would be of interest.

Connections: Two Men, Two Different &#146;Passions&#146;

February 28, 2004
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN

When the Jews shout "crucify him!" over and over to Pontius Pilate, their voices overlapping in a frenzy, the effect is dizzying, as if some well-ordered world were about to be overturned. And I'm not referring to the "Passion" according to Mel Gibson; I'm referring to the "St. Matthew Passion" by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Some of what can be said about Mr. Gibson might even be said about Bach. Mr. Gibson drew on the visions of a 19th-century nun for some of the stigmatic horrors he brought to the film. Bach may have been more distantly influenced by Luther's 1543 screed, "On the Jews and Their Lies." Both "Passions" take the Gospel texts literally, invoking blood and suffering, injury and pain.

And both share notions of Jewish villainy, at least partly because of the Gospels themselves. The anti-Judaic strain developed, in part, for strategic reasons: the Gospels were compiled beginning in the second half of the first century, when Christianity was beginning to differentiate itself from Judaism, the Jewish Temple was destroyed (in A.D. 70) and Roman power was being courted. So the Romans get off relatively easy: the Jews are condemned. "His blood be on us and on our children," the Jewsproclaim in each – though in Mr. Gibson's film the subtitles and image were removed to appease critics, leaving the curse as a voice-over in Aramaic.

But perhaps the Gibson/Bach comparison is most revealing for its contrasts. Mr. Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ," which early attendance figures suggest may become a worldwide success, reinvents the Passion in a late medieval mode, exhibiting a lusty fascination with flagellation, a fetishist's attentiveness to whips and welts, a panting anger at grotesquely caricatured villains. "By his wounds, we are healed," reads the prophet's epigraph for Mr. Gibson's film, and bleeding wounds are primarily what are seen throughout.

After seeing Mr. Gibson's "Passion," in fact, and suffering through two hours of scourged flesh and pent-up fury, I listened to Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" with amazement, awe and relief. Next Friday night one of the best contemporary interpreters of Bach's "St. Matthew Passion," Philippe Herreweghe, will lead a performance at Alice Tully Hall; it should probably be prescribed as a remedy for every viewer of the film.

The contrast is evident even in the treatment of Jews. Mr. Gibson goes far beyond the Gospels. He makes Pontius Pilate, historically renowned for his brutality, a reflective and sensitive soul. He caricatures the Temple priests as Faginesque European Jews, while Christ's Jewish helpers, like Simon of Cyrene, are free of that classic ethnic stain. And though there are plenty of awful Romans, they are dumb sadistic brutes; not so the conniving Jews.

In Bach's music, of course, the unpleasantness never reaches this level, though the verses in which the Jewish crowd cries out are jagged, demonically impassioned and in their frugal outbursts, scarily intense. But as the Bach scholar Michael Marissen points out in "Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism and Bach's St. John Passion" (Oxford, 1998) and in his recent work on the "St. Matthew Passion," Bach leaves behind Luther's hatreds and mollifies the accusations of deicide by emphasizing the guilt of all of us - which is, presumably, the theological point.

Mr. Gibson has claimed something similar, even pointing out that he himself shares the guilt: his hand holds the nail to be driven through Christ's flesh. But the film never makes that connection relevant. The film is just concerned with a single effect - unjustified pain - and keeps ramping it up until it becomes almost unbearable. The greater the pain, the greater the guilt, the greater the redemption (and, perhaps, the greater the blame). It is an impersonal equation, a fundamentalist's dream.

But pain denies the human, eclipses it, obliterates it. And with Jesus being reduced to a pained being - as he is in the movie - his final triumph is as impersonal as his suffering.

This is where Bach turns Gospel into musical glory. Bach uses techniques developed in opera, alternating biblical texts with arias, their sensuous melodies accompanied by solo instruments. These arias are intensely emotional in their expressions of despair, confusion, hope, faith. Bach's settings often force the mind and ear in unexpected directions. Mr. Gibson, for example, sternly whips Jesus up to Golgotha until he is little more than an expressionless, barely conscious mass of blood and flesh. But Bach dares to interrupt the drama with an aria, sung by a bass, which strides with joyful resignation: it is almost seductive. It is a soul's love aria sung to the cross: "Come, sweet cross."

Chorales, interspersed through the "Passion," also make the experience more intimate; the congregation literally joins in singing, comforting itself. There is no boundary between the Passion story, the soul's struggles and daily life. Bach's music moves between the public world of faith and its interior trials, between orthodox doctrine and its human significance.

The subject in much of Bach's sacred music is man - man in the particular - represented religiously in the figure of Christ. This emphasis on the individual links Bach more to the world that came after him than to the medieval world that came before. It is what gives him a hint of modernity that Mr. Gibson oddly lacks. And it means that for Bach even the relics of anti-Judaic feeling become irrelevant.

Mr. Gibson, I imagine, would be made nervous by Bach. And unlike his medieval counterparts, doesn't seem to know what do with all that accumulated pain and anger. But the broad popular response to his movie so far may be less a matter of the particular nature of his faith than the fact that he is taking some aspect of religious life seriously, refusing to de-nature Passion into platitude. There may be some sort of religious hunger on display, for religion is, in some ways, too much with us, in other ways, not at all. And so, in a strange kind of ecumenical union, Protestants and conservative Catholics and other Christians are, at least for now, finding common ground in this eccentric "Passion." Unfortunately, that ground is soaked in blood - and not just Jesus's.

New York Times Article

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Robert Sherman wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Uri Golmb] Without disputing anything Rothstein says, it does remain that there are clearly anti-Semitic passages in Matthew's text, and Bach used some of them. For my part, it makes me a bit uncomfortable but not enough to prevent me from being deeply moved by Bach's SMP. Not so Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, which is unvarnished and inexcusable anti-Semitism. Oddly, the only non-hateful megabuck treatment of the subject that comes to my mind is Ben Hur, which was written by a Civil War general back when anti-Semitism was considered OK, but presumably he rose above his time. But this is way OT, and I apologize for that.

Donald Satz wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Uri Golmb] Although I've seen just about every movie Mel Gibson has made, it's likely I'll never see another one. I find the man a religious extremist, and that's too far for an agnostic.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] Odd that his first cult classic, "Road Warrior" is a far more theological film.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (March 9, 2004):
Robert Sherman wrote:
< it does remain that there are clearly anti-Semitic passages in Matthew's text >
uhh...last I checked Jesus, Matthew, Mark and John were all very Jewish

In this case these passages aren't anti-Jewish, but more anti-temple authorities who-thought Jesus wanted to usurp their power.

But yes, this is way OT

nice article though-and putting the "anti-Jewish" passages in different lights (i.e. just anti-temple authorities and anti-human sin in general) makes the great SMP even more moving.

Bob Henderson wrote (March 9, 2004):
In agreement with the thrust of the article, I would take the argument another step. The Gibson film as I understand it and as I see it interpreted (I live in the Bible belt) presses a literalism, a concrete understanding only of the Christian story.

It is this fundamentalism as represented on the screen and preached from local pulpits that offends. Bach on the other hand, regardless of text, teaches through metaphore, poetry, beauty and transport, quite opposed to the literal and not related to it.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 9, 2004):
< Without disputing anything Rothstein says... >
Well, I'll definitely dispute at least ONE thing Rothstein wrote in that article, a musical point:

< In Bach's music, of course, the unpleasantness never reaches this level, though the verses in which the Jewish crowd cries out are jagged, demonically impassioned and in their frugal outbursts, scarily intense.(...) But pain denies the human, eclipses it, obliterates it. And with Jesus being reduced to a pained being - as he is in the movie - his final triumph is as impersonal as his suffering. This is where Bach turns Gospel into musical glory. Bach uses techniques developed in opera, alternating biblical texts with arias, their sensuous melodies accompanied by solo instruments. These arias are intensely emotionalin their expressions of despair, confusion, hope, faith. Bach's settings often force the mind and ear in unexpected directions. Mr. Gibson, for example, sternly whips Jesus up to Golgotha until he is little more than an expressionless, barely conscious mass of blood and flesh. But Bach dares to interrupt the drama with an aria, sung by a bass, which strides with joyful resignation: it is almost seductive. It is a soul's love aria sung to the cross: "Come, sweet cross." >
Here's the problem: Rothstein's remarks here on this point would make sense if Bach had written sweet, joyful, seductive music in this aria. But he didn't! Yes, the text calls for resignation and submission, but the music invests the message with a contradictory pain and irony that emphasizes the human side of the suffering. This is some of the most hideous music Bach ever wrote. The viola da gamba solo is on the edge of unplayability, and hardly listenable. The leaps cross several strings, and really the only way to play them physically is to grab at them quickly with the bow (like an exhausted person gasping for breath: the way a death on a cross is a slow and a cruelly painful one, from asphyxiation). The chords are tight and ugly. The vocal line is no cakewalk, either: plenty of leaps of augmented seconds, diminished fourths, tritones, and an augmented seventh. The basso continuo line here (the world going on, oblivious to the suffering of any individual person) is the only thing resembling normalcy.

It's a brilliant dramatic stroke by Bach (and obviously a deliberate one...he could have written any type of music he wanted to) to juxtapose all this anguish against the words, instead of giving us something sweet and comforting like Simeon's resolution into death in the cantata BWV 82. Bach knew about the pain of death and suffering: he'd already lost a wife and four or five children before writing the SMP (and of course his parents and some siblings).

"Musical glory" in "Komm, suesses Kreuz"?! A soul's love aria?! More like: as bad as things get one still has to go through with them, and find a way to cope.

Even if people don't want to believe that Bach's music is gory and grotesque when appropriate to the message of human suffering, there it is.

Johann van Veen wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Donald Satz] I suppose this also means that you are not going to listen to musicians who have done things you strongly reject? Example: musicians collaborating with totalitarian regimes (someone like Peter Schreier comes to my mind here.)

Johann van Veen wrote (March 9, 2004):
Matthew Neugebauer wrote:
<< it does remain that there are clearly anti-Semitic passages in Matthew's text >>
< uhh...last I checked Jesus, Matthew, Mark and John were all very Jewish >
Right.

And I also think that is is hardly possible to compare a movie with a piece of music, just as it is pointless to compare a movie with the book it is based upon.

Johann van Veen wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Bob Henderson] What is against taking the biblical report of events literally?
And why do you think Bach did not take them literally?
Isn't the difference just the result of the difference between a piece of music and a movie? These seem hardly comparable.

Donald Satz wrote (March 9, 2004):
[To Johan van Veen] Goodness - I was talking about movies, and Johan brings up musicians. I was talking about religious nuts, and Johan brings up dictators.

I now simply have a distaste for Gibson - that's where it ends. If Johan is looking for consistency, he'll have to find someone else.

Ehud Shiloni wrote (March 10, 2004):
A few points on this OT:

1. Anyone on the List not already familiar with Barney Greenberg's site [bachfaq.org], is hereby strongly urged to look at: http://www.bachfaq.org/antisem.html

for a very clear discussion.

2. Suggested reading [from my bookshelf]:

2.1 "The Trial and Death of Jesus" by the late Haim H. Cohn, Supreme Court Judge of Israel. [Anyone wishing to discuss this book may contact me directly off-list, this being quite OT].

2.2 "The Master and Margarita" by the great Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov - especially good stuff.

Back to Bach recordings, fellas!

Thomas Braatz wrote (March 10, 2004):
Here is a critique of the performance alluded to in the NY Times.com article:

An intense 'Passion' for Bach
By Justin Davidson
Staff Writer

March 9, 2004

On Friday night, while thousands of moviegoers sweated through the graphic mortifications of the flesh in the "Passion" according to Mel, a smaller, more blessed group in Alice Tully Hall basked in the metaphoric elevation of the soul in Bach's "St. Matthew Passion."

Neither Bach nor the conductor Philippe Herreweghe shied away from the violence and rage that Gibson renders in such loving detail. During the crucifixion, while an alto offers futile pleas for mercy, implacable strings drive in the nails with vicious staccato strokes, each one echoing sharply like a metallic clang. "His blood be upon us and on our children," the troubling line that seems to pin the blame for Jesus' death on every Jewish generation, explodes into a teeming contrapuntal chorus, as if we were witnessing the instantaneous proliferation of guilt.

But these musical symbols have the virtues of being simultaneously abstract and direct, indefinite and intense. They do not bully the listener into a response. Rather than narrate the story with a monolithic point of view, Bach interrupts it with commentary, chorales and prayerful arias sung by a variety of individuals, whose responses do not always align. The "St. Matthew Passion" is more a majestic group discussion than a one-way sermon.

The same could be said for Friday night's performance. Herreweghe, who has set the standards for Bach performance in our time, led an exquisite collective performance, one that was dramatic but not hectoring, tight but not corporate, emotional but not inflamed, correct but not dogmatic. The conductor founded the Collegium Vocale Gent more than 30 years ago, though judging from a quick visual survey of the orchestra and chorus, old music attracts young people and the ensemble has renewed itself many times over.

It is an extraordinary group. The chorus, supplemented by a deluxe cameo from the American Boychoir, ranged over Bach's expressive landscape, from the intricate, cathedral solemnity of the opening to the quick, jagged outbursts of furor ("Barrabas!") and the reverent communion of the chorales. The "St. Matthew Passion" expands and contracts over its operatic length, and the supple orchestra whipped up thronging splendor, then reduced itself to a figured bass line supporting a ravishing pair of oboes.

The pacing is varied as the sound. At times, the Evangelist hurtles through the narration like a radio sportscaster trying to keep up with a fast-paced basketball game. Then a soloist stands for a contemplative digression in the form of recitative and aria, and the whole, massive framework of the piece stretches and settles into a different sort of rhythm. Herreweghe guided this fitful flow of time with utter mastery, aided by an able cast.

Mark Padmore sang the Evangelist with compassionate restraint and a light-filled, tender tenor. Michael Volle's baritone fused gorgeously with the halo of strings surrounding Jesus' lines. Marie-Claude Chappuis delivered the alto arias with a small voice and great musicality, a perfect metaphor for the frail human being whose doubts and credos are best expressed in song.

COLLEGIUM VOCALE GENT. Bach, "St. Matthew Passion." With Mark Padmore, Evangelist and Michael Volle, Jesus. Letizia Scherrer, soprano. Marie- Claude Chappuis, alto. Steve Davislim, tenor. Sebastian Noack, baritone. Philippe Herreweghe, conductor. Seen Friday night. Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Douglas Cowling wrote (March 10, 2004):
Ehud Shiloni wrote:
< 2.1 "The Trial and Death of Jesus" by the late Haim H. Cohn, Supreme Court Judge of Israel. [Anyone wishing to discuss this book may contact me directly off-list, this being quite OT]. >
You might want tlook at the section in Raymond Brown's "The Death of the Messiah" (pp, 328 ff) for the current scholarly status of modern legal assessments of the trial of Jesus. Brown posits that the evidence from post-Fall Jewish sources do not necessarily reflect 1st century legal practices. Jewish scholars as well are still controverted about the evidence.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 10, 2004):
Bradley Lehmanb wrote:
"This is some of the most hideous music Bach ever wrote. The viola da gamba solo is on the edge of unplayability, and hardly listenable."
Have you heard Krause/Munchinger or Berry/Klemperer?

I don't know how difficult the viola da gamba part is, but Rothstein's description -

"Bach dares to interrupt the drama with an aria, sung by a bass, which strides with joyful resignation: it is almost seductive. It is a soul's love aria sung to the cross: "Come, sweet cross"
- seems to me to be the correct one, for this aria, as heard in these two recordings.

I know what you are saying. I know of "unlistenable" arias in the Rilling cantata series, which I think can be put down to the performer (s)/conductor's fault; and undoubtably there are ugly performances of this aria, but I think it's possibly a mistake to characterise the aria itself as being hideous. The voices of Berry and Krause, and even the thematic material, in these sympathetic 'molto adagio' readings (from Munchinger and Klemperer)are far too arresting to be characterised in this way. (As for the timbre of the gamba, it's more unusual than hideous, like in the 6th Brandenburg, with its odd instrumentation.

Taruskin has the same take on some of Bach's music, but I think he has been listening to the wrong performers.....

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 10, 2004):
Neil Haliday wrote:
"This is some of the most hideous music Bach ever wrote. The viola da gamba solo is on the edge of unplayability, and hardly listenable."
< Have you heard Krause/Munchinger or Berry/Klemperer? >
Yes, I've heard Berry/Klemperer, and at least a dozen other recordings (but not Krause/Munchinger). In Berry/Klemperer, Desmond Dupre gives it a valiant try, but listen closely to how difficult it is! He just barely gets it, and we don't know how many takes they spliced together to get it to be as clean as it is.

< I don't know how difficult the viola da gamba part is, but Rothstein's description -
"Bach dares to interrupt the drama with an aria, sung by a bass, which strides with joyful resignation: it is almost seductive. It is a soul's love aria sung to the cross: "Come, sweet cross"
- seems to me to be the correct one, for this aria, as heard in these two recordings. >
Well, that's the danger of taking favorite recordings as if they are the music, instead of working on it directly from the perspective of a performer.

If you've ever been within a few meters of a viola da gamba player, giving this his best shot in a live performance, you'd see the point of this piece as a struggle against pain and adversity. Those leaps across several strings (without playing them!) are just about impossible at any steady tempo, with any refined tone production. I've played continuo in the SMP and therefore accompanied this aria, seeing just how difficult it is--and the look of terror on the player's face just trying to get the notes, even a player who is OK with just about everything else in the instrument's repertoire.

I'd heard the SMP for at least 15 years, on recordings, before that first direct exposure to playing it, and simply did not understand this movement until then. Recordings are deceptive. They can be put together from multiple attempts, and cleaned up in so many ways that can't be done in a live performance. Keep in mind that Bach did not write his music for recordings, but to have performers give it a go straight through for better or worse.

I don't know if the visual effect of those string-crossings--certainly a vivid thing to watch--has to be part of the performance, where we hear but do not see the struggle in a recording; but the difficulty itself certainly is part of it. Sort of like (in the drama) a guy carrying a heavy piece of wood up a hill, on the way to his own death by crucifixion (asphyxiation and exhaustion being the cause of death by that method).

< I know what you are saying. I know of "unlistenable" arias in the Rilling cantata series, which I think can be put down to the performer (s)/conductor's fault; and undoubtably there are ugly performances of this aria, but I think it's possibly a mistake to characterise the aria itself as being hideous. The voices of Berry and Krause, and even the thematic material, in these sympathetic 'molto adagio' readings (from Munchinger and Klemperer)are far too arresting to be characterised in this way. (As for the timbre of the gamba, it's more unusual than hideous, like in the 6th Brandenburg, with its odd instrumentation.
Taruskin has the same take on some of Bach's music, but I think he has been listening to the wrong performers..... >
What leads to the assumption that Taruskin's position is from "listening to the wrong performers"? He has been a professional performer himself: on the viola da gamba and a conductor of choral groups. And, as he makes clear in his book, he's a fairly accomplished pianist as well. He knows how to think as a performer, and his understanding of the music does not come only from listening to other people's recordings. I don't know if he is able to play "Komm, suesses Kreuz" or not, accurately enough for anyone's satisfaction, but he certainly knows what it would take first-hand, as that's his instrument.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 11, 2004):
Bradley Lehman asks:
"What leads to the assumption that Taruskin's position is from "listening to the wrong performers?"
I think his (and your) notion of Bach's 'hideous' music is an extreme stance, based on ideas of performance practice which I find objectionable (whether or not these performance practice ideas are correct I am not disputing at present).

Rather, I think one can choose to give deliberately grotesque, almost unbearable performances of a piece of music. Obvious candidates for such treatment among the SMP's arias are "Come sweet cross" and "Geduld, Geduld".

Whereas both Klemperer (as you seem to agree) and Munchinger give sympathetic, pleasantly listenable renditions with "Come sweet cross", Klemperer, in "Geduld, Geduld" (which is a secco aria ie, continuo only) does achieve an unpleasant effect (whether deliberate or not, I don't know) with a staccato (notes 'inegales'?) treatment of the angular dotted semiquaver leaps on the cello. By contrast, Munchiger treats us to a very listenable legato presentation of this cello part, which is made even more palatable by surrounding the parts for voice and cello with a beautiful 'harmonic mist' supplied by the continuo organ. (How different this organ realisation is, compared with the usual distracting, often ugly, meaningless 'tootling', from continuo chest (portable?) organs.)

(Klemperer uses a more 'austere' (though decorative) harpsichord in the continuo).

Consequently, in Munchinger's performance, the cello part recedes into the background and the tenor's (Wunderlich?) appealing voice predominates, resulting in a very attractive and listenable aria.

So, is (as an example) this aria itself 'hideous', which is I what understand Taruskin's contention to be, or can one deliberately choose, for whatever reasons (mistaken, in my view), to give barely listenable, painful performances of it. (I prefer to leave aside the issue of how difficult it is for the player to perform, as being unrelated to the issue of whether the music is 'hideous' or not).

The corollary of this is that one can choose to give listenable, appealing (does not have to mean 'sweet', of course) performances of the same music, as noted above.

Johann van Veen wrote (March 11, 2004):
[To Neil Halliday] But are you sure Bach intended the music - in this case the SMP, or parts of it - to be 'appealing'? I am sure he wanted it to be communicative, meaning: able to bring across the message of the Passion.

The problem seems to be that many listeners of are not interested in the message and just want to focus on the packing.

Performances which smooth down the sharp edges of SMP - or any music - don't do it justice. Such a performance doesn't bring Bach's SMP, but rather a virtual version of it.

Neil Halliday wrote (March 11, 2004):
Johan van Veen wrote:
"But are you sure Bach intended the music - in this case the SMP, or parts of it - to be 'appealing'?"
I'm fairly certain Bach did not actually intend his listeners to physically cringe in discomfort, because of the sheer unpleasantness or hideousness of the sound, which appears to be Taruskin's thesis.

Certainly, I want the music to be 'appealing'; there is enough discomfort in real life, and I come to this, or any music, for other reasons than to experience physical repulsion or discomfort.

The SMP offers a chance to contemplate and experience, vicariously, and in an abstract fashion, the tragedy of the wrongful condemnation of an innocent man, through the magic of the medium of music and Bach's genius. 'Ugly' music is not required, at least not by this listener.

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 11, 2004):
"But are you sure Bach intended the music - in this case the SMP, or parts of it - to be 'appealing'?"
< I'm fairly certain Bach did not actually intend his listeners to physically cringe in discomfort, because of the sheer unpleasantness or hideousness of the sound, which appears to be Taruskin's thesis. >
"Fairly certain" based on what evidence, other than wishful thinking (a personal preference not to be made to cringe)?

As I've pointed out in numerous cantatas, the first half of last year, there are plenty of spots where it looks very clear (to me) that Bach has modulated to horrible keys because it will sound terrible in the winds and organ (being based on meantone temperament), to illustrate horrible things in the sung texts. Have you ever heard what G#-minor sounds like on an organ tuned in meantone? Or what fully-diminished or half-diminished 7th chords sound like in meantone? I submit that there's no way to understand the impact of these dramatic strokes without playing through or listening through those passages in meantone temperaments. (Not that meantone delivers mere ugliness; its sweetness also far surpasses the sweetness of milder temperaments. There are extremes, and Bach made musical/theological use of them!)

Come along for this little tour of scene 41 of the SMP, where Judas has his final villainous moment and then goes and kills himself:

Starting in F# minor, an OK tonic chord but on the edge of the meantone universe:

"Des Morgens aber hielten alle Hohepriester und die Ältesten des Volks einen Rat über Jesum," C# 7th chord on "Volks" but in 1st inversion so the hideousness of that harmony is smoothed out a little bit; back to F# minor on "Jesum." A fairly neutral start here.

"...dass sie ihn töteten."
WHACK! B# diminished 7th chord arpeggiated in the bass, landing on a G# major chord (first inversion), G# being the worst chord in the temperament because the major third is really a diminished 4th, and the fifth is really a wolf diminished 6th. WHACK! Illustrating the words.

"Und bunden ihn, führeten ihn hin und überantworteten ihn dem Landpfleger Pontio Pilato."
All that is over silence, until the word "Pilato" on a C# minor chord which has a neutral character in meantone.

"Da das sahe Judas, der ihn verraten hatte,"
An exceptionally sweet A major 7th chord, third inversion, on "Judas" (who had seemed like a good guy until this); then a violent A# diminished 7th on "hatte."

"...dass er verdammt war zum Tode, gereuete es ihn und brachte herwieder die dreißig Silberlinge den Hohenpriestern und Ältesten und sprach:"
Neutral B minor chord on "ihn", a sweet E major 1st inversion on "Silberlinge" going to sweet A major...again Judas seeming like a good guy until he speaks:

"Ich habe übel getan, dass ich unschuldig Blut verraten habe."
Diminished 7th on D# on "übel" and the rest of it cadences into B major, very dicey with the D# mistuned as an E-flat. Evil personified.

"Sie sprachen: Was gehet uns das an? Da siehe du zu!"
E minor (neutral) alternating with its dominant B major (dicey).

WHAM! G# diminished 7th chord!...

"Und er warf die Silberlinge in den Tempel, hub sich davon, ging hin und erhängete sich selbst."
Neutral A minor chord on "Tempel", F# half diminished 7th (an odd chord but still sounds innocuous in meantone) by adding a 3rd below A minor, on "davon". Then "ging hin" reprises the same pair of harmonies from "Was gehet" that we just heard from the crowd of priests.... "Erhängete sich selbst" takes us through a diminished 7th on C# (yecch) into an E minor cadence (neutral, a resolution).

Then a sudden shift to C major, the best in tune of all keys, in meantone:

"Aber die Hohenpriester nahmen die Silberlinge und sprachen: Es taugt nicht, dass wir sie in den Gotteskasten legen,"

And suddenly modulating into B minor, hitting the nasty F# major dominant, for this nasty finish:
"...denn es ist Blutgeld."
...as they earmark this donation as blood money.

Nobody is going to convince me that Bach didn't use these ugly sounds
on purpose. It's so clear here!

=====

< Certainly, I want the music to be 'appealing'; there is enough discomfort in real life, and I come to this, or any music, for other reasons than to experience physical repulsion or discomfort. >
Yes, but that's about you, not about Bach or the congregations for which he wrote his music.

< The SMP offers a chance to contemplate and experience, vicariously, and in an abstract fashion, the tragedy of the wrongful condemnation of an innocent man, through the magic of the medium of music and Bach's genius. 'Ugly' music is not required, at least not by this listener. >
If the ugliness is abstracted out of it, blunting the message, it undercuts the impact of the piece. Sure, we might prefer to have it smoothed down and more listenable, but that's just as bad as watching newscast bombings of innocent people on the television, from the comfort of a living room with a bowl of chips.

Donald Satz wrote (March 11, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] I'd like a bowl of chips about now but will wait for some hideious news on TV.

Seriously, I agree with Brad, although I don't see why we keep using the word "ugly"; I hear these passages as being 'effective' for the musical mood and the text.

Then there's the issue of 'appealing' music. Appealing to whom and for what purpose? So-called ugly music can be very appealing within its overall context.

 

Continue on Part 8

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | BWV 244a | BWV 244b
Systemetic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-8 | Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 | Part 3: Mvts. 21-29 | Part 4: Mvts. 30-40 | Part 5: Mvts. 41-50 | Part 6: Mvts. 51-57 | Part 7: Mvts. 58-63b | Part 8: Mvts. 63c-68 | Part 9: Role of the Evangelist
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - L. Bernstein | BWV 244 - F. Brüggen | BWV 244 - J. Butt | BWV 244 - R. Chailly | BWV 244 - S. Cleobury | BWV 244 - J. Daus | BWV 244 - D. Fasolis | BWV 244 - W. Furtwängler | BWV 244 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 244 - W. Gönnenwein | BWV 244 - P. Goodwin | BWV 244 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 244 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 244 - R. Jacques | BWV 244 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 244 - O. Klemperer | BWV 244 - T. Koopman | BWV 244 - S. Koussevitzky | BWV 244 - S. Kuijken | BWV 244 - F. Lehmann | BWV 244 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 244 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 244 - E.&R. Mauersberger | BWV 244 - H. Max | BWV 244 - P. McCreesh | BWV 244 - W. Mengelberg | BWV 244 - K. Münchinger | BWV 244 - R. Norrington | BWV 244 - G. Oberfrank | BWV 244 - S. Ozawa | BWV 244 - A. Parrott | BWV 244 - G. Ramin | BWV 244 - S. Rattlr | BWV 244 - K. Richter | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H.J. Rotzsch | BWV 244 - H. Scherchen | BWV 244 - G. Solti | BWV 244 - C. Spering | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - B. Walter | BWV 244 - F. Werner | BWV 244 - M. Wöldike
Articles:
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 [T.N. Towe] | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) [U. Golomb] | St. Matthew Passion from Harnoncourt [D. Satz] | The Passion according to Saint Matthew BWV 244 [J. Rifkin] | The Relationship between BWV 244a (Trauermusik) and BWV 244b (SMP Frühfassung) [T. Braatz] | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Early History (A Selective, Annotated Bibliography) [W. Hoffman] | Spiritual Sources of Bach's St. Matthew Passion [W. Hoffman] | Bach and the "Great Passion" [D.G. Lebut Jr.] | The Genesis of Bach's `Great Passion': 1724-29 [W. Hoffman] | Early Performances of Bach's SMP [T. Braatz]

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

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